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Devils-Bruins: A Crushing Third Period for the Locals

By Stan Fischler
January 19, 2012

All animals are equal -- but some animals are more equal than others; George Orwell, from his book, "Animal Farm"

Over an 82-game season, every contest is a “test” for each of the thirty National Hockey League teams.

But, as author George Orwell pointed out – “some animals are more equal than others” – likewise some games provide more of a “test” than others.
 
And, so it was on Thursday night at Prudential Center when the Stanley Cup Champion Bruins provided their second super-duper-lalapaloozah test for the Devils.
 
It wasn’t a good verdict in the long run for New Jersey. Boston headed to back to New England with a deceptive 4-1 victory.
 
For two periods, the Garden State skaters looked like winners, having protected a one-goal lead while totally outplaying the Champs.
 
“We played well and were in the driver’s seat,” explained captain Zach Parise, “it’s frustrating because we were in control of that game.”
 
However, the seeming victory all went up in smoke during a 4:44 span in the third period on successive goals by Andrew Ference, Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell. Chris Kelly scored the empty net goal to seal the deal for the Bruins.
 
The game opened with all the drama that fans could desire; topped by superb goaltending on either side from the visitors’ Tim Thomas and Martin Brodeur.
 
It took more than 18 minutes for the first red light to flash, and it was the Comeback – Not – So – Kid, Petr Sykora, who was The Lamplighter. 
 
The play was orchestrated by linemate Dainius Zubrus.  The big wingman forced a turnover with an aggressive forecheck. 
 
He corralled the puck, and ladled a pass to his Czech sharpshooter in the slot, who beat Thomas five-hole at 18:29.
 
“Just a great play by Patty and Zubie getting behind the net,” explained Sykora, “I just tried to get a spot in front of the net and Zubie made a great pass.”
 
The period also featured a spirited fight between Brad Mills of New Jersey and Gregory Campbell, son of NHL warden Colin Campbell.  It was a draw.
 
Another feature of the initial frame was the best shift of the season for Cam Janssen
 
The rambunctious Devil nearly scored his first goal of the season with a sharp slapshot from the right boards.  Thomas made the save, but on the same shift, Janssen nearly put Ference through the boards with a hit behind the Boston net.
 
The second period was no less exciting, despite the lack of scoring. 
 
The Devils dominated with excellent scoring chances. Rookie Steve Zalewski hit the crossbar late in the middle frame.  On the same shift Benoit Pouliot of the Bruins hit the right post.
 
After two periods the Devils led in shots on goal, 23-12, but with only one goal to show for it, the advantage was very tenuous.
 
The opening moments of the third period proved to be a lull before the Bruins four-goal storm.
 
Poor clearing by New Jersey’s third line led to a long Bruins shot by Ference that beat a screened Brodeur at 3:01.
 
Worse news followed the bad when David Clarkson took a penalty to leave the Devils shorthanded for the first time.
 
An effective penalty kill turned sour when Boston surged ahead on a Horton deflection from a David Krejci pass that beat Brodeur at 7:10.
 
“We played a really good game in the first two periods,” said Clarkson, “it’s something we can learn from for the next game.”
 
The Philadelphia Flyers visit Newark on Saturday afternoon.
 
New Jersey’s three-game winning streak took another blow when Boston added a cushion goal by Campbell.
 
“We’ve got to let this one go,” concluded Patrik Elias, “we lost focus and we cannot do that.”

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